The Metro Ride


It was a day like any other. I put on my uniform, a checkered skirt, a blouse and navy high knee socks, and headed towards the kitchen for some breakfast. I ate, got my lunch, put my coat on and left. My mom watched me leave through the window. At that time in my life I was 13 and very petite. My mother worried about my safety in the metro and bus, but she had let me go on my own because she believed in independence.

The metro was my favourite part of the ride to school. We lived in Terrebonne so the ride from there to downtown was a long one: 20-minute bus and 45-minute metro. However long it was, I made the best of it! I did homework, I slept, listened to music and read books. It was the only time in my day where I could do something for myself.

As usual, I made sure I sat in the front of the train to be as close as possible to the exit door for my stop. I would sit in a two person seat by the window; that way, I could look at the other passing metros which fascinated me.

The train usually got very full at around Henri Bourassa and I did not mind it that much because I was sitting and I had enough space to not feel suffocated. When we got to that stop that day, something happened that I would remember for the rest of my life. A fairly large 50-year-old man sat next to me in the two-seater. He looked proper: he had a suit on, his hair was cut and placed and he even had a briefcase. Nothing about him was out of the ordinary, so I did not feel threatened or like anything was out of place.

The metro began to move towards the next station: Sauvé. The middle-aged man began to inch towards me, squishing me to the metro window. Still, at the moment, I did not feel any threat since I figured he was just moving to the pull of the train.

The situation began to deteriorate when the man placed his hand slowly, and secretly on my knee. I started to breathe heavily and rapidly. I did not know what to do. With every stop, his hand moved higher and higher on my leg. I was perplexed. Why would a 50-year-old man want to touch a 13-year-old girl? It was so unexpected.

I began to look for a way out of the metro car but the way to the door was too packed. There was no way out. The lady sitting in front of the two seater was looking at the man and me. I suspected she could see that I was in distress. I looked at her and mimed words for help. She took action immediately. She got up and began to yell at him, telling him he was disgusting and a disgrace to our society. She kept on mentioning that I was only a young girl and that no grown man should do that. Other passengers stared at the man in disgust, clearly knowing that he had touched me inappropriately.

Thankfully, the man got so embarrassed that he got up and ran out of the metro car onto the platform. The door closed and the man slowly faded away. The very nice woman asked me if I was okay and if I wanted to report it to the police. I thanked the lady and reassured her that I was all good. Through the shock, and without thinking, I told her I would not report the man. She did not insist, got up and left. I continued my day as if nothing bad had happened.

To this day, I wonder why I did not report that 50-year-old man. Women of all ages should not be sexualized and taken advantage of. We are not weak and inferior, we deserve to feel safe and secure through every day. This is not the case for many and we must fight to bring awareness to these gender inequalities and to this rape culture that is so embedded in our societies.